Black Lipstick: 3 Ways To Wear The Darkness With A Little Light

Black lipstick for all! And to all a goth night.

Is there a lip color more polarizing than black? While everyone argues about the minuscule tonal differences in reds, good old black is always the same stark color.

True, black lipstick can trigger witchy remarks, but considering it’s October and you’re already vag-deep in dark crimsons and plums, why not go total gray scale on that and commit? Black lipstick is that commitment. It makes a silent statement that’s equal parts LOOK AT ME and DON’T BOTHER ME. It's a simple repellent for anyone who doesn’t have anything essential to say. It works better than dark sunglasses worn indoors, or walking around with big headphones. Naturally, I’m into that.

But I’m not trying to leer witch-like ALL the time. My infatuation with black lipstick has me like a supportive mom, determined to convince it that it’s not just a one trick pony. “You can be anything you want, not just goth, black lipstick!” That’s me, cheering on an inanimate object.

Using one classic cream formula--Napoleon Perdis’ Noir black lippy--I've come up with three ways to wear the darkness with a little bit of light.

The Easy Breezy

When wearing such a bold color as black, keeping the rest of your face simple makes a lot of sense (you know, for balance). With only defined brows, my complexion cleanly BB creamed, and some mauve blush in the hollows of my cheeks, I painted on the black with a lip brush before dabbing the lipstick bullet directly on my lips. Black lipstick can look streaky and weird if it’s not totally opaque so coverage is key.

The Future Is Black

Stepping that "au naturel" look up a bit, I added black eyeliner in tiny dual arrows in the corners of my eyes. It’s not a cat-eye so much as it is lining brackets around your eyes, but it gives your face a graphic appeal--something subtle but weird. Clean lines work well with bold colors, so a crisp liner gives you an edge, literally.

Femme Fatality

I always prefer a smudgy eye to a sharp cat-eye, mostly because it won't ruin my night if I accidentally rub my face/eye and mess it up. This one is super easy: The idea is to impart a color beam on your eyes to offset your black lips. Honestly, you can do this with any jewel-tone eye shadow (Gold! Green! Cobalt! Violet!) but I love reddish/pink contrasted with BLACK.

I just used a smudger brush, swirled it in some plummy-red eye shadow (Clinique’s Black Honey) and painted the outer corners of my eyes up into the crease and liberally on my lower lash line. Voila, so easy you could do it without a mirror. (Seriously, try it, it’ll be funny!)

The real rub with black lipstick--or any deep, dark lip color--is that it SUCKS to take off, no matter the formula. It stains your lips, and god forbid there’s any flakiness around your mouth because pigment will just live in those dry crevices rent-free for as long as it likes.

Bite Beauty provides a rather handy solution with Lush Lip Wipes. They’re like Wet Naps for when you want your lipstick off and toilet paper just isn’t cutting it. Who wants to be spitting out lint anyway? TP lint in your mouth is the antithesis of sex. These wipes are formulated with Reservatrol, which sounds like a kind of gasoline fuel, but is actually the stuff plants produce when they're injured or being attacked by pathogens like bacteria or fungi. I was surprised that all the black lipstick I was globbing on came off effortlessly with one wipe. AND *big bonus* my lips felt moisturized and a little bit plumper after a good rub-down.

Walking around town with black lips isn’t as weird as I'd thought. My foremost concern was keeping the color in place: if it strays the effect changes from “I’m probably an art student with deep, dark intense feelings” to “I got tar on my mouth but I’m just going to leave it there.”

Now that we're nearing All Hallow’s Eve I’m sure you’ll see black lipstick popping up in shops and costume departments, but before you dismiss it as theatrical rubbish, remember these encouraging mom words, "You can pull off any black lipstick you want!" However. I do advise psyching yourself up with some Black Lips tunes.

Do you wear black lipstick? Any application tips or favorite formulas to share?